Benjamin Yerxa, PhD, CEO
I am thrilled to be writing my first CEO message as part of
the Foundation’s annual report. Since joining the Foundation
in October, I have been continually impressed by the depth
and breadth of FFB’s impact on inherited retinal diseases and
age-related macular degeneration research. This is truly a
groundbreaking time in the search for cures, and I am proud
to be part of an organization that will continue to be at the
forefront of that charge.
What I’ve learned during my nearly 30-year career in biotechnology and drug development is what makes me so excited to
be part of the Foundation’s dynamic team. Simply put, FFB, with the continued support of its donors and partners, has what
it takes to solve the problem of vision loss due to retinal degenerative diseases.
What’s required? Funding is, of course, critical but so are strategic investment and collaborations. FFB’s strategy is rooted in
five key strategies:
• Steward every donor gift prudently
• Support a broad portfolio of possible treatments
• Understand how a finding in one disease area or potential therapy helps inform other studies
• Foster teamwork/partnerships with industry
Working together, we have all these necessary ingredients and a real opportunity to rewrite the life script for people living
with retinal diseases. See page eight of this report for an overview of FFB’s research funding commitments during 2017. As
these data demonstrate, our funding grants and investments — at research institutions worldwide — are supporting studies
in many areas, including how the retina works, genetics, gene therapy, and cellular and molecular mechanisms.
Thank you for welcoming me to the team. I look forward to spending a lot of time during the coming months in the
field attending FFB events, meeting our donors and chapter and walk leaders, and visiting our funded researchers. I am
confident that, working together, we can make a real difference.
Benjamin R. Yerxa